Blackpool boss Simon Grayson wants to see better decisions from his players

Blackpool goalscorer Ben Heneghan tackles Connor Jennings
Blackpool goalscorer Ben Heneghan tackles Connor Jennings
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Simon Grayson says Blackpool’s decision-making in the final third continues to be the root of their recent problems.

The Seasiders’ run of back-to-back defeats came to an end as they were held to a 1-1 draw at lowly Tranmere Rovers yesterday in what was their final game of 2019.

Pool were unable to capitalise on their early goal, which has been credited to Ben Heneghan, and were pegged back courtesy of Morgan Ferrier’s strike.

Grayson’s side had chances to snatch the three points in the second half but once again their lack of quality in attack let them down.

“That’s just where we are now in this last three games or so that, when we get into the final third, we don’t make that right decision,” the Pool boss said.

“Whether that’s a case of driving forward and taking people on, go and get a shot off or slip someone in earlier.

“It’s difficult on a pitch like this because you’re running with the ball and trying to pick a pass but at the same time you’re checking to see where the ball is and whether or not it’s around your knees or rolling in any sort of form.

“We know we’ve got to be better in that area of the pitch because it’s something we’ve spoken about quite regularly.”

The poor surface did make for an ugly affair, with both sides reverting to direct tactics and relying on set pieces.

“It was probably a fair result,” Grayson added.

“When you look at the state of the pitch you knew it was going to be not the most attractive game of football.

“On the other side of it, there were a lot of incidents with free-kicks, tackles, the ball not running truly, which caused a lot of problems for defenders and midfield players.

“It wasn’t ideal conditions for both teams but you have to battle and you have to scrap.

“We picked a team to try and combat the pitch with our system and we got off to a good start.

“But to concede on the stroke of half-time is frustrating, as when you’re away from home, you want to get to the break and just take stock of the situation.

“From that point onwards it was quite an even second half.”

Pool almost lost it at the death only to be saved by returning keeper Mark Howard, who replaced the injured Jak Alnwick to make his first league start since March.

The 33-year-old flew across his goal to pluck Connor Jennings’ powerful volley out of the top corner.

“It was a superb save,” Grayson said.

“I thought he did really well. He came in and looked composed and his kicking was really good.

“His talking is good, he’s an experienced player, and when he needed to make a save, he did. I’m pleased for Mark.”